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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Early Venetian Printing Illustrated

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THE HISTORY OF THE ART OF PRINTING, studied in its most valuable examples, shows clearly how the work of the early printers took, from the very commencement, a national and also a personal character. These are recognised by the modern student in the special forms of type which they employed, and in the character of the ornaments and vignettes with which they decorated their editions; which thus formed, as it were, a species of art-work countersigned by the particular conditions of date, place and genius. Every early edition, with its various characteristics of size, type and ornamentation, is thus, not merely a trade specimen, but also an historical and artistic document, agreeing in character with the arts of design, the social customs and the literary tastes in vogue at the period in question. The early German printing, with its rigid and angular types and its Gothic ornaments, is perfectly suited to an age and to a country still mediaeval, and the Italic type of Aldus Manutius is equally suited to the calm and elegant classical character of the art of the Renaissance. Volumes with wide margins, large type and eccentric engravings tell of the pompous magnificence which found favour in the seventeenth century and of which that century has left so many specimens in our libraries.

Thus Ferdinando Ongania in Early Venetian Printing Illustrated, a tremendous collection of early print decorations, ornamental capitals, engraved illustrations and printers’ emblems. Ongania’s book was published in 1895, and once again the late 19th century is shown to be a fruitful period for this kind of early graphic history. A frequent frustration when searching through the thousands of scanned volumes at the Internet Archive is to locate plenty of books from a given period only to find that the illustrations or decorative material are sparse. Ongania’s collection dispenses with the text of the original volumes to present over 230 pages of graphics. Browse it here or download it here.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Giovanni Battista Palatino
Early woodcut initials
Paulini’s mythological alphabet
Joseph Balthazar Silvestre’s Alphabet-album
Johann Theodor de Bry’s Neiw Kunstliches Alphabet
The Book of Ornamental Alphabets
Paul Franck’s calligraphy
Gramato-graphices
John Bickham’s Fables and other short poems
Letters and Lettering
Studies in Pen Art
Flourishes

 


 

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